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Mike Benoit, senior equity analyst at Talon Asset Management, has Thanksgiving on the brain with his value picks. Talon is based in Chicago and has $1.1 billion in funds under management, with about $650 million in equities. Benoit says that, as he reflects on what he's thankful for, he can think of nothing better than Nascar.
"Second only to the NFL, Nascar is an American institution and fortunately for value investors, Wall Street has lost faith," Benoit says. "I would argue that it has never been a better time to be a fan."
International Speedway(ISCA - Get Report) is worth near $50 per share with limited downside from current levels. International Speedway is closely tied to Nascar as the company hosts more than 100 racing events a year, which generate revenue from admissions, broadcasting rights and advertising sponsorships, not to mention food and merchandise sales.
The stock closed Tuesday at $23.70, down 17% for the year. By comparison, the S&P 500 is up more than 7%. But with a $50 price target, Benoit is expecting shares of International Speedway to double from current levels. He says that view isn't hard to believe considering financial and valuation metrics.
"The company trades near book value and a market cap of approximately $1 billion, which is a huge discount to past valuation levels," Benoit says. "A good portion of revenues via media rights and sponsorships are locked in through 2014 so the top line is less volatile than you might think."
Wall Street may think the consumer is dead and blue-collar employment will never come back, a view that plays into the hands of value investors. "I can't think of a better way to be a contrarian and bet on what it means to be an American," Benoit adds.
Continuing with the Thanksgiving theme, Benoit turns to
Ralcorp Holdings(RAH), which manufactures and sells store-branded food products. Ralcorp has trailed the market over the past year and currently trades at a 20% discount to its peers. Fears of rising commodity prices are affecting the company's shares. But there is a lot to love about this value pick, Benoit says.
"[Ralcorp] has a good track record of creating shareholder value over the past several years, but investors are hesitant since the announced acquisition of American Italian Pasta coupled with a slowdown in the cereal aisle," he says. "I expect as pricing becomes more rational and things settle down, the valuation gap on this name will close."
Ralcorp shares currently trade for $63.40, good for a 6% gain this year. Benoit says the company is worth at least $80 per share, which represents more than 25% upside.